YOUNGSTERS with eating disorders are being welcomed to a new self-help group being launched in Hull.
Youth Self Help United, which will have its first meeting at the Endsleigh Centre on March 7, is aimed at young people aged 10 to 17, suffering from binge-eating, anorexia, bulimia or other conditions. More than 15,000 people are estimated to have some kind of eating disorder locally.
Emily Cramphorn, 16, who battled anorexia for years and ended up winning a national award for her efforts in helping others beat the illness has a key role.
Marg Oaten who set up the support group Seed Eating Disorders Support Services after her daughter Gemma had an eating disorder, is also involved. She said: "The group will be facilitated by two Seed facilitators and Emily. Parents should be reassured that there's been a lot of preparation and consultation to get where we are.
"Because of Emily's experiences and being now in recovery she wants to give something back and we are working with her to make that happen. Hopefully we are going to pilot this over six months to evaluate and see what the response is."
The monthly meetings, which will be confidential, will look at issues including body image, confidence building, motivation and dealing with difficult situations.
But Marg makes it clear they are not delivering therapy. "This is not about sharing painful experiences. We are delivering life skills and as we develop we will be introducing more and more things. It's about encouraging people to go forward and dispelling isolation.
"We need to get out there and let people know they will be treated with dignity and will be made welcome and supported."
SEED, in partnership with the City Health Care Partnership Advice and Consultation Team, is staging an event on Saturday February 26 at St Stephen's to raise awareness of eating disorders from 9am to 5pm.